Head Coach Matt Jones
Matt Jones enters his 12th season as the Shippensburg University head baseball coach in 2018 having directed the Raiders to 300 wins, two Atlantic Region Championships, two Division II “College World Series” appearances, a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship and a PSAC Eastern Division title.
Jones has coached the Raiders to at least 23 wins in 10 of his 11 seasons, including four seasons of 30 or more victories, and eight PSAC Tournament appearances. His career record at SU is 300-282-1, a mark that includes 33 victories in postseason play.
In SU’s four Atlantic Region Tournament appearances under Jones – the Raiders have posted a 10-6 record and won two Atlantic Region Championships.
Prior to Shippensburg, Jones spent seven seasons as the head baseball coach at Elizabethtown College, where he posted a 148-126-2 record and turned the Blue Jays into a perennial contender for the Commonwealth Conference title.
Overall, in 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Jones has posted an overall record of 448-408-3. On May 20, 2017, Jones earned his 300th victory at Shippensburg with a 10-5 NCAA Tournament win over Shepherd. Jones’s 400th overall victory as a head coach came March 18, 2016 with a 12-3 win at West Chester.
At Shippensburg, Jones has instructed players to a total of 53 All-PSAC selections during his tenure, including two ABCA All-Americans (Matt Wright, Pat Kregeloh). Four Raiders coached by Jones have been selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, while several others have gone on to play professionally as undrafted free agents or in an independent league.
Baseball, the oldest of SU’s intercollegiate teams (1874), has reached Division II’s “World Series” just five times in its history. Two of those appearances have come in the last 10 seasons with Jones in the dugout.
Of the many talented players Jones has coached, Kregeloh was twice named as Shippensburg University’s Men’s Student-Athlete of the Year (2012-13, 2013-14). Kregeloh, SU Baseball’s first Academic All-American in 16 years, is a four-time All-PSAC performer who finished his career in 2014 with a .320 batting average, 25 home runs, 141 RBIs, 38 doubles and 115 runs in addition to a 16-11 record as a pitcher with a 3.10 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 206 innings.
Senior Jake Kennedy graduated in 2017 as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) all-time home run king with 45 career homers. His 22 home runs and 71 RBIs as a senior in 2017 are single-season school records.
One of Jones’s coaching tenets is the outstanding defense displayed by his teams. SU led the PSAC in fielding percentage during the 2007 and 2008 seasons while ranking second in 2009. The team averaged just 63 errors per season from 2007-09, an average of just 1.1 per game, while succeeding with at least 96 percent of their chances during that time.
A total of 12 Raiders have received Rawlings All-Atlantic Region “Gold Glove” awards under Jones’s tutelage – including 2011 All-America Gold Glove winner Eric Herman.
In 2017, Jones guided the Raiders to the semifinals of both the PSAC Tournament and the NCAA Atlantic Region Tournament. SU also posted a 19-9 mark in conference games, its best during Jones’s tenure.
On Mar. 15, 2014, SU posted a 5-3 victory over Le Moyne that marked Jones’ 200th victory with the Raiders. It was one of many highlights in a campaign that included a 12-game win streak from Mar. 8-27, SU’s longest winning streak in 10 years, and a No. 11 national ranking in April.
The 2013 campaign holds indelible memories for Jones and the Raiders, as SU won four consecutive games out of the loser’s bracket at the Atlantic Regional Championship to ultimately claim the title and advance to the Division II College World Series.
Despite a 2013 schedule that was deemed the most difficult in the Atlantic Region, SU managed 32 victories for the second consecutive season. The Raiders were ranked as high as No. 12 in the Baseball News poll and six players were recognized with All-PSAC accolades.
In 2012, the Raiders recorded their most wins in five seasons (32-21) and finished among the final four teams in the PSAC Tournament. SU finished up as the No. 5 seed in the Atlantic Region, but lower-seeded teams Shepherd and Winston-Salem State received tournament berths by virtue of their conference championships out of the WVIAC and CIAA, respectively.
The 2012 squad marked the second consecutive year that SU has reached the PSAC Tournament as the Eastern Division’s No. 2 seed. The Raider batting average (.283) was identical from 2011 to 2012, but the team’s ERA improved by nearly two-and-a-half runs. SU also swept a home doubleheader over eventual national champion West Chester and took the Golden Rams to extra innings in the PSAC Tournament.
In the final home doubleheader of the 2012 regular season (Apr. 27), Jones surpassed the 300 career wins mark spanning his seasons at both Shippensburg and Elizabethtown. In 15 years as a college head coach, Jones has compiled a career record of 367-332-2 and is a six-time conference Coach of the Year.
Following the 2011 season, outfielder Herman was one of just nine players in the nation to receive an ABCA/Rawlings Division II “Gold Glove” award. Herman was the only player selected from the Atlantic Region. He was honored for not committing an error in 83 outfield chances or 48 infield chances to set the school record for the most defensive chances in a season without committing an error (131).
After guiding his 2008 squad to the fourth Division II College World Series appearance in school history and first since 1996, Jones was named the 2008 ABCA/Diamond Sports Company NCAA Division II North Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and the 2008 NCBWA North Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
Shippensburg finished the 2008 regular season as the champions of the PSAC Western Division with a 14-6 conference record that helped voters select Jones as the PSAC Western Division Coach of the Year.
Jones’ 2008 team broke 12 single-season school records, 11 individual season records and 11 career records. Five players were named to an All-North Atlantic Region squad while the ABCA, Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named Matt Wright the North Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year.
The Raiders nearly swept the all-conference awards as well, as the team took home the PSAC West Player (Justin Garber) and Pitcher (Wright) of the Year awards in addition to Jones’ award. The team also had seven All-PSAC Western Division selections.
The 2007 season was the first at Shippensburg for Jones and he immediately guided the team to its first conference championship in four seasons and first NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. Jones also set a benchmark with 28 wins in one season that was shattered in 2008 with the team’s 39 victories.
Jones is one of three SU coaches (since 1922) to win a conference title in his first season.
A 1995 graduate of Slippery Rock, Jones was named the 11th head baseball coach at Shippensburg on Oct. 23, 2006 after serving as Elizabethtown’s head coach for seven seasons.
At Elizabethtown, Jones captured three conference championships and appeared in the conference title game five times while participating in the conference championship tournament in each of his seven seasons. He also led the Blue Jays to three NCAA Regional appearances.
During his tenure with the Blue Jays, Jones was named conference coach of the year in 2000 and 2001. They compiled a 77-56 regular season conference record. Many of Jones’ players earned individual awards, as 34 players earned all-conference honors and six players were selected to the NCAA All-Mid Atlantic Region team during his tenure. He also coached three conference rookies of the year, two conference pitchers of the year and one NCAA Division III All-American.
Overall, Jones has coached in 49 conference tournament games, 21 NCAA regional tournament games and five College World Series games spanning Elizabethtown and Shippensburg.
Jones currently lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife Leslie, a 1997 graduate of Shippensburg. They are the proud parents of their young son, Connor.